Health & Resilience of Younger Veterans (18-45)

Dr Verity Greenwood BA (Hons1) LLB PhD is a researcher at Macquarie University and about to embark on a study into the health and resilience of younger veterans (aged 18-45) who have returned from war zone deployment.

As we here at North Bondi RSL Sub-Branch have a very high number of members who are in that category we would like to assisting her in her research project.

Her earlier research on health resilience concluded that a strong sense of ‘belonging’ in a support network is vital to wellbeing and recovery from trauma and from poor physical and mental health. This research aims to conduct a pilot study on serving and retired veterans, to understand the role of the veteran’s support network and its effect on the health resilience and wellbeing of veterans undergoing transition to civilian life and transition to what defence refers to as connected and lethal environments. This project is important because it is innovative in giving understanding in the following ways:

  • Provide knowledge of the dynamics of economic, health, social and cultural change through

o    the localised everyday life of serving

o    adapting to a connected or lethal environment and

o    retired  veterans adapting to civilian life.

  • Insight as to the relative importance of personal attributes, local places, community,  technologies and the RSL and DVA institutional support.
  • Comprehension of the mental and physical health symptoms and economic, social, cultural  and health functioning in Australian veterans returning from deployment in war zone areas.
  •  Provide the basis for the development of a Health Resilience Index that will inform policy formulation and implementation to assist veterans nationwide.

To undergo this research we are looking for members to volunteer as prospective participants for in-depth interviews and focus groups. The personal interviews and focus groups will give a good understanding of the range of health problems and risks confronting you in your environment. This process will be designed to gauge interrelated themes underlying the research, particularly the needs of veterans in transition, whilst protecting veterans from undue psychological stress.

Phase 1

Interviews and Focus Groups

Interviews and focus groups will be conducted in informal semi-structured conversational format in socially relaxed settings, approximately 60 minutes in length. In dealing with sensitive issues emotional and physical comfort is paramount and option of place for interview/focus groups left to participants. A consent form and verbal advice will describe participants’ rights in the conducting, recording and transcribing of the interviews/focus groups. Anonymity and confidentiality is guaranteed and will be protected by pseudonyms with relationships and events disguised.

Phase 2

Health resilience Surveys

Phase 2 will use the health resilience survey built on the interviews/focus groups in Phase 1. To ensure the survey provides a means of obtaining the best possible data, the survey will be distributed to veteran members.  Comments and views of these veterans will be taken into account and refinements made, if required, to finalise the questionnaire. Importantly this pilot study will determine the suitability of the questionnaire, and its appropriateness, in content, quality and quantity, for the needs of the study and further nationwide research. The survey will be designed as an easy to complete mail-based self-administered questionnaire. The majority of questions will require only a tick while a small proportion will require one line answers.  The survey will be contained in a single booklet and should be completed within 30 minutes.

It is important for any volunteer participants to note that total confidentiality will be maintained at all times. Anonymity of individual participants will be preserved and I will be the only one to have access to the data which will be kept under lock and key in my office.  All participants will be given a copy of their transcript to correct if necessary. My final report will retain the anonymity of participants so that no participant will be identified in the report.

If you would like to be a part of this important research simply respond to this post or for more info please email Verity Greenwood for more info (

Posted by Kate Cass

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